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By Tobie Bernstein, Senior Attorney; Director, Indoor Environments and Green Buildings ProgramWednesday, April 26, 2017
Communities throughout the United States are experiencing a variety of conditions associated with a changing climate—hotter summers and heat waves, droughts, intense storms and flooding, increased average precipitation and humidity, and more severe wildfires. Alongside potentially far-reaching environmental and economic impacts, these conditions have direct and indirect effects on human health. In recent years, scientists have begun to shed light on important climate-related health effects that occur indoors, where people spend the vast majority of their time.
By Nora Moraga-Lewy, Research AssociateMonday, April 24, 2017
With all the national-level news surrounding the new administration’s approach to environmental protections, it can be easy to lose track of the important roles that state and local governments have in pushing forward plans and policies for environmental protection and resilient communities. Working on ELI and UNC’s floodplain buyouts project and stumbling upon a book from the ELI archives refreshed my excitement and understanding of the various levels on which we can push for environmental action.
By Carol Adaire Jones, Visiting Scholar, Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney, and Emmett McKinney, Research AssociateWednesday, April 19, 2017
Imagine the dumpsters behind restaurant row in your community signaling their hauling company to come pick them up because they are full and about to overflow, or their food is rotting and about to stink up the neighborhood. Such are the promises for waste management of new “smart technologies,” based on sensors, radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, big data, and social networks.
By Robert Kelsey, Associate Editor, Environmental Law ReporterWednesday, April 12, 2017
In a series of executive orders, the president has requested that agencies review several environmental protection rules, and if deemed necessary, repeal or modify rules to better facilitate economic growth. One such rule, the Clean Water rule, also known as the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS), has been in the crosshairs of industry for some time.
By ELR StaffMonday, April 10, 2017
When it comes to the global commons, President Donald Trump has made his stance on climate change policy pretty clear. What will be his views on ocean policy? Certainly, given the impact of climate change on ocean acidification, last month’s Executive Order on energy independence was not good news for ocean health. But there are a multitude of marine and coastal issues that the Trump Administration will have to face.
By David Roche, Staff AttorneyWednesday, April 5, 2017
What happens when environmental laws are not enforced? That question is usually reserved for countries that lack sufficient rule of law. In fact, one of ELI’s core missions is to support rule of law all over the world.
But, in one limited case, the problem hits a little closer to home. The border wall proposed by the Trump Administration would be exempt from most environmental laws.
By Caitlin Meagher , Research & Publications Intern - Spring 2017Monday, April 3, 2017
Often lost in discussions of efficacy and payment relating to the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall is what would happen to the environment if a concrete divider were placed across a nearly-2,000 mile swath of habitat. While wall-like barriers already stand on hundreds of miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, expanding to a full-border wall would constitute a massive transformation of the rest of the United States’ southern borderlands, posing substantial threats to the wildlife that roam the area.
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Higher Power: “A Unitarian Universalist church is suing the town of Bedford, Massachusetts, for denying a request to install solar panels on its property,” reports the ThinkProgress website. The church is “arguing that authorities are infringing on the congregation’s right to express their religious belief in clean energy solutions.”
The church applied for a “certificate of appropriateness” that would allow it to install solar panels on its sanctuary, but the town’s Historic District Commission turned it down.
By Rebecca L. Kihslinger, Senior Science and Policy AnalystMonday, March 27, 2017
Flooding, storms, and other hazardous conditions cost billons of dollars in damages annually across the United States. Hazard mitigation programs attempt to break the cycle of repeated disaster damage by identifying and addressing a community’s disaster vulnerabilities in anticipation of future events. One such hazard mitigation solution is the voluntary acquisition of flood-damaged properties from their owners, using the federal hazard mitigation grant program and other state and federal grant programs. The acquisition and restoration of these floodplain properties can increase community resilience while improving wildlife habitat, enhancing ecosystem services, and providing much-needed open space and recreational facilities to a community. Buyouts present an opportunity for communities to create public assets while restoring the ecological integrity of the floodplain and strengthening the community’s resilience to future disasters.
By Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney, Carol Adaire Jones, Visiting Scholar, and Emmett McKinney, Research AssociateWednesday, March 22, 2017
In a Vibrant Environment blog post on February 17, 2017, we provided an overview of the types of approaches that cities and states can use to address the environmental and social justice implications of wasting 40% of the food that is produced in the United States. We addressed reducing food waste before it happens, but because that is not always possible, we turn now to the next best alternative—rescuing or donating wasted food.